It took until the exact halfway point for the Kansas City Royals to claim their first walk-off win of the season, but it happened at an opportune moment. KC skidded through two wins in nine games to follow up their 10-game winning streak this June, bringing fans back down to realistic expectations and below. Could this win be the spark that gets the Royals going again?
Similarities between this game and the momentum-boosting victory against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 29 could be seen as omens of a turning fortune. At the time KC went into Toronto, the Jays were a red-hot, intimidating ball club, and the Royals were reeling from a sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros. In that first win in Toronto, KC took advantage of a throwing error from usually-stellar shortstop Jose Reyes to score twice in the 10th and claim Game 1 of that series.
It was another defensive miscue from a middle infielder on a surging team that gave KC a chance to win this series in dramatic fashion. This time it was a should-have-been double-play thwarted by Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick that immediately set up the game-winning Omar Infante single. After a hefty load of well-warranted negativity in the aftermath of the winning streak, a jolt of dramatic success is exactly what the Royals need.
The efficacy of omens and patterns and coincidence can be debated, but to say that a team like this one needs confidence to succeed is unquestionable. Ned Yost still says it in post-game press conferences, and he gets hammered for it, but it’s still relevant: this is a young team with very little winning experience. They are the definition of streaky right now, as these dramatic ups and downs have shown. To stay in the hunt during the second half of this season, the peaks need to match and surpass the valleys.